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    Posted July 12, 2014 by
    Puyallup, Washington
    Related to: My trip down the most endangered river in America
    CNN's John Sutter took a three-week trip down the most endangered river in America: California's San Joaquin. See the tweets from his adventure.
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your favorite river

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    The Mighty Amazon River


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     The Amazon River spans more than 4000 miles, snaking through Colombia, Peru and Brazil. It’s considered the largest river by discharge of water in the world and is a lifeline to local communities, modern cities, and even ancient South American tribes. Scott Isom, a tour planner from Puyallup, Washington, traveled to Brazil and through the Amazon in 2009 and 2012. While in the heart of the Amazon, he explored tributaries by canoe and double-decker boats. "To fly into the city of Manaus and to see the vast size and scope of the Amazon is quite breathtaking,” he said.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    Because of my work as an international tour guide, it is too difficult to pick just one favorite river. I've seen too many winners! But the most impressive river in terms of size and diversity of life has to be the Amazon. I have led two Walking Adventures to Brazil (in 2009 and 2012) and our tour of the country has always started near the confluence of the Rio Negro and Rio Solimoes, two of the big branches that combine to form the Amazon River. These two rivers converge near the city of Manaus, the largest population center in the Amazon rainforest, with a population of nearly 2 million. Some of the recent World Cup matches were played in Manaus, which was once the center of a booming rubber empire back in the late 1800s.


    It doesn't take long to escape the booming metropolis of Manaus. In no time, you can be floating in a canoe through a flooded forest, interacting with a local village, or visiting the Meeting of the Waters, where the dark, tea-colored Rio Negro runs side by side with the faster moving chocolate-milk-colored Rio Solimoes without co-mingling for several miles. You can witness the massive Queen Victoria lily pads or photograph countless varieties of monkeys and birds. If you're feeling brave, you can go out into the Amazon night on a motorized canoe to look for caiman, or even lace up the boots for a rainy daytime walk through forests that are full of diversity. At the end of it all, you can relax at one of many friendly jungle lodges throughout the region.


    When you fly into Manaus and can see the Amazon from overhead, you realize how massive this river system really is. It accounts for 20% of the world's entire river flow, and while there is still debate about whether it is longer than the Nile, there is no question that it is the largest river in the world in terms of volume...hands down!

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